Hypnosis: Unlocking a Window to the Mind

Mar 02, 2023
Hypnosis: Unlocking a Window to the Mind

Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.
Dorothy M. Neddermeyer


Hypnosis has been around for centuries and is often misunderstood. It can be seen as an altered state of consciousness in which people become more open to suggestion, allowing them to access the subconscious mind. This unique form of psychotherapy can be used to help individuals overcome challenges such as addiction, trauma, and other kinds of emotional distress. Let’s explore the history and usage of hypnosis as a therapeutic modality.


Historical Origins of Hypnosis

The concept of hypnosis dates back to ancient times, with evidence existing in ancient Greek writings from 500 BC. However, it was not until 1776 that Franz Mesmer wrote about “animal magnetism” - the power he believed certain individuals possessed to influence the health and behavior of others through magnetic forces. His work established the foundation on which modern hypnotherapy would be built.

In the mid-1800s, James Braid expanded on Mesmer’s ideas by introducing new hypnotic practices and better understanding how hypnosis works on a neurological level. He popularized the term “hypnotism” and focused on its uses in medical treatment and psychological therapy. In recent decades, research has continued to build on Braid’s work and has explored how hypnosis can be used to treat various physical issues such as pain management, anxiety relief, stress reduction, smoking cessation, healing wounds faster, improving sleep quality, etcetera.

Photo credit: Mk Hamilton @Unsplash

Usage in Psychotherapy

Hypnosis is now being used increasingly in psychotherapy settings to help individuals address mental health issues such as depression or phobias or behavioral issues like overeating or nail biting. For example, consider a client who comes into therapy seeking help with her anxiety disorder. The therapist may first use traditional talk therapy techniques to discuss her symptoms and explore underlying causes before using hypnotherapy techniques to access her subconscious mind where she can start addressing those underlying issues more effectively than with traditional methods alone. During one particular session with this client, the dialogue between the therapist and client might go something like this:

Therapist: I want you to take some deep breaths for me now… (client takes deep breaths) Now I want you close your eyes… Picture yourself walking down a long hallway… You come across a door at the end of the hallway… What does it look like? (client describes door) Now I want you reach out your hand and open that door… Step inside.. What do you see? (client describes what she sees) Now tell me what emotions come up for you when you think about that memory… (client expresses emotion) We are going to continue exploring this place together until we have uncovered all that needs uncovering… And then we will move forward into healing...


From its historical origins dating back centuries ago to its modern usage in psychotherapeutic settings today, there is much evidence highlighting why hypnosis is an effective tool for helping individuals overcome challenges such as addiction, trauma, or any kind of emotional distress they may experience in life. By providing insight into our deeper selves through guided imagery and visualization techniques along with verbal therapies—as witnessed above between our fictional therapist-client dialogue—hypnotherapists are able to assist their clients in achieving greater self-awareness while also helping them find solutions within themselves that they were not previously aware they had access too. Hypnotherapy can truly be powerful when utilized correctly!

#hypnosis #therapy #mentalhealth #healing #mindfulness #therapist #psychologist #coaching #trauma #addiction

Photo credit: Mk Hamilton @Unsplash

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